Review of Specter by Lacey Dailey

Specter by Lacey Dailey
Circuit #1
Published 3 October 2018

Two years ago, I joined an organization that was so top secret not even the FBI could locate us.

As a hacker, I teetered on the edge of right and wrong every single day, breaking the law to make the world around me a better place.

I knew how dangerous my work at Circuit was. I knew I could get caught one day and wind up behind bars for the rest of my life.

I didn’t care.

And then the packages started to show up on my doorstep. One after another. Never the same gift twice. Never the same day.

I warned my team, tried to get them to prepare for a takedown. They didn't seem as concerned as I was to learn my identity as Specter had been compromised.

I prepared for everything.

And then Sage Maddison appeared with one of the packages, snow-white hair and eyes filled with fear.

I was not prepared for her.

I bought Specter on one of my Amazon book-buying sprees and was planning on reading it during one of my testing trips to the medical centre because it sounded interesting enough to occupy me but not so much that I wasn't aware of what all was going on around me. And then, back in January, Ms Dailey reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing it. Why not? So I said sure! And that's how we wound up here, readers. I figured that since the FTC is the great and powerful governing agency, I should make it clear, I already owned the book, the review was requested, and I'm all about the open and honest policy, someone give me some coffee or a cookie the size of my fat head.

I managed to get through Specter, but I had a difficult time with it. Specter isn't without its good points but, I'm sorry, this won't be a very favourable review, I'm cranky, one of my dogs is being put to sleep next week and I had an unhappy book experience. I honestly had a hard time getting truly into Specter, but it was a passable 'remise en bouche' for between my usual books and that's about it.

I was delighted by the synopsis, a romance involving a hacktivist group that fights for the greater good and the whisperings of suspense? Yes, please! But it fell short. Specter was basically a bit of a light fluff novella dressed up as a contemporary romantic suspense novel. This cleared my mind up so I've got it ready for my next book. Hence the phrase, 'remise en bouche'.

I liked the cuteness of Wren and Sage and their 'sunshine' bit and all, but I also wanted to gouge my eyes out with the heaping yellow pile of overly cute because it basically made light of everything that people who have PTSD and anxiety live with. Sage goes from having debilitating C-PTSD and anxiety issues and then, within the short timespan that occurs within this book, she's suddenly fine for the most part? I'll sit back here with some Ativan for her future psychological breakdown because that's a pretty picture you're painting but that doesn't happen. I'm 30 years old in June and I've been dealing with C-PTSD and severe anxiety since I was a toddler. It is a hellacious nightmare and it doesn't get solved with some splash of colour and thinking about some cute boy, hero or not.

Now for some characters. We have POC and we have LGBT+ characters which had me seeing sparkly rainbows of joy there for a hot minute and I did enjoy the gay best friend. But the characters of Specter came off rather flat and one-dimensional. We get tossed some cute tidbits, which I liked, but then we just float back to obscure-ville and I was so frustrated. We get vague references to so-and-so and their not-relationship and nothing really happens there, just a couple jokes and a reference to it. Yes, I know, series, future book, yada-yada, but it was annoying as all get-out to get a really juicy note about a character and then have very little interaction between the main characters and this character. If you're building a series, build the characters throughout the series, that way your books are actually tied together and not just using the same cardboard figures over and over again.

This is suposed to be contemporary romance, no grandeur or anything, right? But Circuit has an FBI agent as one of their members who has somehow managed to pass all the security measures the FBI has in place and hasn't earned any suspicions from their co-workers because they're so good. But when everything goes to hell in a pretty handbasket, said agent is right there with the circuit members, pulling strings and making sure nobody's arrested or anything? Just no. If he were to do this in an official capacity, flashing a badge, getting somebody out of a holding cell, in a weird situation, his superiors would be pulling him into an office to find out the whosits and whatsits at the very least, at worst, his connection to Circuit would be discovered and he'd be facing more criminal charges than his Circuit compatriots would be because of his position within the agency.

Now, if you still want to check this book out, I want to forewarn you and post a couple content warnings here. Without posting spoilers, I want to caution anybody who might have issues reading about recurring references to drug use (including forced administration), repeated sexual assault, kidnapping, and death through gun violence. None of these things occur as a scene in the book but are heavily referenced throughout the book, I did find one reference scene a bit disturbing personally and that's why I'm being extra careful with this content warning.

Overall, I'm giving Specter 2 stars because I can see there is a good story in there somewhere, but it's still waiting to come out. I'm hoping the next book has some major improvements all around, and yes, I'm still going to read the next one just to see if it does improve.

The best place to find Lacey Dailey is with her nose in a book. She’s a sucker for a good love story and a happy ending that has her swooning. When she’s not obsessing over giving her own characters a happy ending, you can find her in the dance studio empowering young dancers and giving out tons of stickers. Thanks to her mother’s pizzeria, Lacey can make a delicious pizza. 

When she’s not putting on her dance shoes or inhaling a slice of pizza, she’s in front of her computer binge watching romantic comedies and penning stories with love so powerful, it’ll last a lifetime. As a recent graduate of Central Michigan University, Lacey intends to keep inspiring people through dance and lots and lots of words. She currently lives in Central Michigan surrounded by her family and unpredictable weather. 


In light of last week's events, this review is dedicated to Gun Control because I'm so tired of guns. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence  Everytown for Gun Safety   International Action Network on Small Arms (I have a very long list of charities bookmarked to feature and these were the first gun control ones I saw)
Hug your loved ones, smile at strangers, let people know they're amazing. Until next time, have a happily ever after.

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